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Google Turns On User-Tweakable Search Wiki

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the enhance-enhance dept.

Google 161

Barence writes "Google has launched a new service that allows users to tailor to their own search results. Called SearchWiki, the service allows Google account holders to move results up or off the rankings, or even add their own choice of site to the top of the search results. Google claims that any changes a user makes will only affect their results, and not those of fellow surfers, although it's difficult to believe that some of the feedback generated from the SearchWiki won't be used to fine tune the Google search algorithm. Is this a cunning way to encourage people to sign in while they search, thus providing Google with a richer set of data that can be mapped to specific user accounts?"

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Google bombing (5, Interesting)

xx_chris (524347) | more than 5 years ago | (#25863829)

If they didn't limit this to the single user, then Google bombing would be even more effective. I suppose they can still use negative votes for spam research.

Re:Google bombing (4, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864395)

That would allow a different kind of Google bombing. Remember the anti-DRM campaign which gave Spore all those low ratings? Seems likely that they could just kill EA from search results...

But even if it's just limited to a single user, it would be helpful to not have to put -site:expertsexchange.com in every search.

Re:Google bombing (5, Funny)

Svippy (876087) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864487)

But even if it's just limited to a single user, it would be helpful to not have to put -site:expertsexchange.com in every search.

Tell me about it, I went to their site, and there was no sex change at all! Lousy service. And they call themselves "expert"?

Re:Google bombing (1)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865235)

>it would be helpful to not have to put -site:expertsexchange.com in every search.

Well, if you're using Firefox, there's always the Customise Google add-on, which features search filters.

Re:Google bombing (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865433)

What about when I need an Expert Sex Change?

Re:Google bombing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25865625)

There's a Firefox addon called "Customize Google" that will let you filter sites you don't like from the google search results. It provides a "filter" link next to each result that will let you trash that site at will.

No, it's not on Google's end but if you use Firefox, you'll begin to love google.

Depends (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865015)

It depends on how it's implemented.

Groups could be done this way:

You are allowed to choose arbitrary groups to view results. So if you join the "I love pink ponies" group you will get rather different search rankings from "I'm a Hell's Angel biker".

Google will generate and name some groups by itself.

Users can also create their own groups by weighting a number of other user's POVs on search results.

e.g. Crystal's "Fluffy Bunnies" group could be (3 * ILoveTwilight) + (2 x GirlzRule) + (-1 * GirlsAreGross).

This way if you really like SEO spam, you can always look for a group that likes it, or create one yourself :).

And Google might say: here are other groups that like these results first.

So what? (5, Funny)

Threni (635302) | more than 5 years ago | (#25863851)

> Is this a cunning way to encourage people to sign in while they search, thus providing Google
> with a richer set of data that can be mapped to specific user accounts?"

Sounds like one of those people who surf with cookies disabled.

Re:So what? (5, Insightful)

u38cg (607297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25863961)

Try blanking all your cookies, then spend a few weeks surfing with them set to prompt. It is genuinely scary how many organisations are tracking your behaviour.

I don't get the point of this service. When I use Google, I don't hang around to admire my search results, I'm just glad I managed to craft a query that landed what I wanted on the first page. I am certainly not going to sit around to review my search results on their behalf.

Re:So what? (5, Informative)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864005)

I would happily spend *all* my time downgrading each and every result pointing to experts(-)exchange.com

Re:So what? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25864009)

MOD PARENT UP

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25864041)

I would happily spend *all* my time downgrading each and every result pointing to experts(-)exchange.com

That pisses me off as well. You used to be able to view the answers if you looked at the cached version, but this has been fixed (and now all of those results are useless).

If only Google had a permaban feature...

Re:So what? (4, Informative)

Cow Jones (615566) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864087)

You can still see all the answers if you scroll all the way down to the bottom. I suspect they did this in order to avoid being blacklisted by Google. Why anyone would pay for that "service" is beyond me.

Re:So what? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25864715)

your sig is on topic to!!

Re:So what? (1)

KingJ (992358) | more than 5 years ago | (#25866005)

Alternatively, if you register as an "expert" you get free access to every question, solved or not.

Re:So what? (5, Informative)

sveard (1076275) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864057)

http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/1898 [userscripts.org] removes experts-exchange.com results from Google searches :)

Re:So what? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864967)

I'm totally using that, those types of things piss me off. I think the worst ones though are the link farms which typo-squat and then just display a list of "relevant" links. If I wanted the links I wouldn't be using a search engine.

Re:So what? (4, Insightful)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864059)

User Agent Switcher, Google Bot.

Re:So what? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864163)

You mean "scroll down to where the comments are shown".

Google doesn't take kindly to people that show them different results than the rest of the world.

Re:So what? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864405)

Which is still antisocial enough that I would much rather kill experts-exchange from every search. Those results are almost never useful for the questions I'm asking, anyway.

Re:So what? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864617)

I generally look elsewhere first, but the fact that somebody paid to ask the question cuts down a lot on the noise there overall, so at least there will be a question, rather than the "Help me make my computer go" stuff that appears on a lot of forums.

As it stands, I'm happy to use their transfer and information and pay them nothing, and the way the present the information practically guarantees that I will never pay them anything.

Re:So what? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25864803)

Which is still antisocial enough that I would much rather kill experts-exchange from every search.

You are exactly right about wanting to kill certain search polluters.

Weirdly, I often search for fragments of lyrics trying to find the entire song and who sang it. Recently the top several lyrics sites don't provide the lyrics in text, but in some sort of crapstastic flash thingy. And way too many ads.

What use is having a googlebot AND an army of street view vehicles if you can't sic the googlebot to killing the bastards polluting the index?

Re:So what? (2, Informative)

bziman (223162) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864137)

I would happily spend *all* my time downgrading each and every result pointing to experts(-)exchange.com

I used to feel that way too, except that when you click on one of their links and scroll all the way to the bottom, you actually get the real answer -- otherwise google wouldn't bother to index the page. It is annoying though.

Re:So what? (1)

404 Clue Not Found (763556) | more than 5 years ago | (#25866211)

Yep, expertsexchange actually has some useful answers if you navigate past all the crap.

Better yet, get Adblock Plus: Element Hiding Helper [mozilla.org] for Firefox (and Adblock [mozilla.org] itself if you don't already have it). That'll let you filter out parts of webpages based on HTML classes and/or IDs. Use the following entries to get rid of all the unneeded crap in the middle of expertsexchange and have it display only the question and answers:

(copy and paste into a text file and then import into Adblock)

(Adblock Plus 0.7 or higher required) [Adblock]
experts-exchange.com#DIV(class*=sectionFour)
experts-exchange.com#TABLE(class^=mh)
experts-exchange.com#DIV(class*=expGreen)
experts-exchange.com#DIV(id=relatedSolutions20X6)
experts-exchange.com#A(class=startFreeTrial)

Re:So what? (4, Informative)

AtomicJake (795218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864183)

Don't spend your time, if you can have it automated in your Firefox (and you can stay anonymous towards Google).  Here is the how-to:

1) Bookmark google (www.google.com)
[Optional: Bookmark search.yahoo.com, www.live.com, etc.]
2) In Firefox, right-click on the bookmark and choose properties.
3) Enter "g" as keyword for Google ("y" for Yahoo, etc.)
4) In the location field enter: http://www.google.com/search?q=%s -site:experts-exchange.com

Done.  Now you can easily search by typing in the address bar:
g <keywords>

The %s in the location will be substituted by the keywords, and you get your Google research without expert-exchange.com entries.

[Nice side effect: since it is now as easy to type in "g" for Google, "y" for Yahoo and "m" for Microsoft, switching search engines is so easy that you actually do it from time to time.]

Re:So what? (1)

mfh (56) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864337)

I can't get this to work because Firefox is forcing HTMLENTITIES on the location field so I'm getting:
http://www.google.ca/q=keywordgoeshere%20-site:experts-exchange.com [google.ca]

Can anyone help fix this because this could be seriously helpful.

Re:So what? (1)

Petrushka (815171) | more than 5 years ago | (#25866873)

Change the space to a +, i.e. http://www.google.com/search?q=%s+-site:experts-exchange.com.

Re:So what? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864425)

And then, a week later, I find a new site that's just as obnoxious.

Contrast this to Google's one-click next to a site, which gives me a cool animation, and adds the results to the bottom of the page anyway, so if they really contain something useful, I can find them.

Probably doesn't help anyway, unless I'm clearing my cookies frequently, and/or randomizing these keywords somewhat -- and even here, I'm still on a mostly-static IP at home. The only safe way to stay anonymous towards Google is to not use Google.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25866501)

Thanks! I had no idea about using bookmark keywords in Firefox like this. Incredibly useful. I'd mod you up if I wasn't too lazy to create an account!

Re:So what? (1)

neomac (97478) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864331)

Amen!

mod up...

Install the CustomizeGoogle Firefox plugin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25864979)

I'm glad to see that I'm not alone in hating "experts exchange". I've solved it by installing CustomizeGoogle [mozilla.org] and I've put http://*.experts-exchange.com/* in my filter. Works like a charm.

Re:So what? (1)

Dark$ide (732508) | more than 5 years ago | (#25866215)

I've already added a line in my named.conf to map expertsexchange to 10.1.1.2 and a line in my apache conf to quietly accept the 404s.

I'm also going to vote down every result that Google returns that points to that crappy site.

It gets my vote for "most useless waste of ones and zeros".

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25867121)

hear hear. Does anybody know if there is a way to report this to google (without login in) or anything?

Re:So what? (2, Informative)

g2devi (898503) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864407)

Cookies don't necessarily mean that they're tracking information. Cookies are an essential part of sessions (at least in PHP).

Re:So what? (1)

mebrahim (1247876) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865361)

About Google I do this:
  • Use Scoogle in conjunction with a GreaseMonkey userscript to beautify and enhance it
  • Block google-analytics.com using AdBlock Plus
  • Use CustomizeGoogle Firefox extension (has many good enhancements, some related to privacy)

Re:So what? ... does it matter? (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865943)

Proably upwards of 60% of Google email account holders first log in to check email, but remain logged in while searching. Don't forget that they pore over email to target you with adverts. I rarely visually register them - especially since they seem lifted from my email, or on my own i find more interesting sites in other ways. AND... i ALMOST ALWAYS STRIP OUT the Google url prefix that would otherwise tip off downrtream sites that my visit spang forth from google. I especially remove them because i don't want my profiles littered with search engine preambles or prefixes unrelated to a site i may share with my readers.

Google is not evil by definition (-1, Flamebait)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25863855)

Google will give you their web and email services, photo processing, mapping, office applications that will run in Google's own browser and will make you a cup of tea. This is all paid for by personally-directed text ads in your tea leaves, based on analysing a DNA sample taken when you sip the tea and sending your genetic code back to Google for future targeting.

Google will maintain complete confidentiality within the marketing department of whatever the browser accessed concerning your confidential business data, bank account details, medical information, genetic structure and personal preferences in pornography. "Weâ(TM)re Google. We know where you live. [today.com] In a completely not evil way. Sponsored link: Get Chrome Browsers on google.com. Or we'll make you use Windows Live."

annoying "feature" (5, Interesting)

a302b (585285) | more than 5 years ago | (#25863869)

This seems to just be a way to refine search results and collect more specified data. This is great for Google's aims of collecting all the data in the universe, but an annoying "feature" for me.

I really dislike the "refined" searches, especially as Google's memory lasts for a long time. If I am doing a project on something, or am really interested in a topic (lets say travelling to Timbuktu), I will search it to death. However, a week later, when I am trying to search for something else (say used cars), I have to slog through a bunch of pages about car sales in Timbuktu!

Sigh.

Re:annoying "feature" (2, Funny)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 5 years ago | (#25863903)

This is great for Google's aims of collecting all the data in the universe

good thing I don't have the delta brainwave [wikipedia.org] and am therefor immune to their evil!

Re:annoying "feature" (1)

NeedlerFanPudge (1413907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864589)

good thing I don't have the delta brainwave [wikipedia.org] and am therefor immune to their evil!

You slept with your own grandmother? That takes guts.

Re:annoying "feature" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25864817)

You haven't seen his grandmother. It also takes a shovel.

Re:annoying "feature" (1)

Jay L (74152) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864477)

You know you can turn off the personalized search results by logging out of Google (or launching another browser without that cookie), right? Although, if you still want Web History to work, that'd be annoying.

Re:annoying "feature" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25865411)

You can also turn it off while logged in, though i can't say off hand on which settings screen it appears.

Insane amounts of data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25863873)

I recently canceled my account on google, which presumably will delete all your data.

I suddenly felt that they had too much data on me, and my account was in my real name. Add email and calendaring and you look at a dangerous data set.

Also, Google is becoming microsoft-ish in how for example web history turns on without warning (hey I just wanted an email addy?) and if you accidentally start one of the other services it says with you for ever.
Which is to say, it's hard to have a clear view of exactly what data google has on you, and it's even harder to control it.

All in all, I am too paranoid to use google anymore.

Re:Insane amounts of data (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25863967)

which presumably will delete all your data.

Ahhhhhhahahahhahahaaaaa!

Re:Insane amounts of data (2, Insightful)

Kuxman (876286) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864723)

You really think that they're going to delete all your data? When they "delete" your account, they almost certainly are flipping a bit that says, "Account Deleted". Your information is too valuable to them, and no where in their Privacy Policy does it say they will delete your data.

A blessing and a curse. (1)

Boogaroo (604901) | more than 5 years ago | (#25863887)

Three things come to mind...

1)Finally, a way to nuke useless results off my search results.
2)How long before Google uses the info for search rankings?
3)How long before asshats start fucking with us?

Re:A blessing and a curse. (0, Offtopic)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864257)

Profiles!

Aggregate the tweaks into related sets:

PowerResearcher. You want to know a graph of when every linux distro was released, sortable by distro or date.

MediaFan. Defaults to **AA-compliant (but one Oops-Leaked hack allowed other stuff in). Only music/art/lit/movie/other cultural results.

TurboIdle. Entertain me! You want to see episodes of Stargate SG1 subtitled in ancient Egyptian Heiroglyphics by some dude at the British Museum. Also return episodes of Buffy episodes with Brian Thompson and soap operas sorted by Cuteness of leading man.

GeekOverlord. Quad boot your flavor of Linux, OS X, a dev copy of Win 7 alpha, and Amiga OS 5. Interview with the guy from New Zealand who built a radiation visualizer so he could laugh at the end of the world.

Wait for it...

AssHat! http://asshat.com/ [asshat.com]

Bye bye Expert sexchange (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25863921)

Why do they rank so high anyway?

Re:Bye bye Expert sexchange (3, Insightful)

Spliffster (755587) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864017)

This was exactly my first thought -- Expert-sexchange is pretty annoying! I don't think it would invade my privacy if I have a way to tell google what I don't like to see ... after all am I using Google because they deliver more or less relevant results.

Re:Bye bye Expert sexchange (3, Informative)

klingens (147173) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864055)

There is no new Google-feature needed which they can datamine. All you need is the GooglePreview addon: https://addons.mozilla.org/de/firefox/addon/189 [mozilla.org]

It allows you to filter out unwanted domains from your search results among very nice other features.

What is the point? (2, Insightful)

Catil (1063380) | more than 5 years ago | (#25863939)

Why would users put results to the top if there is no way of sharing those? It's not like users search for the same stuff every time in order to visit the same site that always happens to be on page 2 or something. ou could just bookmark that page.
Will people really use this at the slight chance that Google might one day use the information to improve their engine, even so they say that they won't?
User-tweakable SearchWiki... one might as well just use Wikipedia. I guess for 95% of all common searchterms, there is an informative Wiki-article anyway and those already have related peer-reviewed links at the bottom, excluding scam and parking sites. There is a good reason that most queries on Google provide Wikipedia as the first result.

Edit: sounds a bit more "flamebatish" than I wanted it to be but whatever.
Edit2: Yes, I can edit my comments, don't you?

Re:What is the point? (4, Funny)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864015)

Make edit 3 or you're lying!

Re:What is the point? (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864159)

Make edit 3 or you're lying!

You can't edit once someone has "Replied to This".

Re:What is the point? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864419)

This is silly.

Re:What is the point? (1)

karstux (681641) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864075)

I don't get it either. When I search for something, I want to discover new sites. So why would I search, then add a site that's already known to me to the results? Why would I change the results order if I can just scroll through until I find the link that I sought?

Unless you use a google search instead of bookmarks. Which would be stupid.

Re:What is the point? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864175)

When I search for something, I want to discover new sites. So why would I search, then add a site that's already known to me to the results?

Because you've looked at the new site and pressed the back button, or because you've looked at the new site in another window or tab, and now you're back at the search result page.

Re:What is the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25864635)

When *I* search, I'm usually looking for information related to some problem I'm for work. That means at least 25% of the time I want to find something on msdn.microsoft.com, not "discover new sites". Why use google to search msdn.microsoft.com? Because Microsoft's search function for MSDN sucks!!! Your suggestion to use bookmarks won't help if I'm trying to look up information on a particular COM interface for the first time, or specific information about Microsoft's weird-ass sockets implementation.

Re:What is the point? (0, Offtopic)

skroops (1237422) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864097)

Make edit 2 or you're lying

Re:What is the point? (1)

kucukzambur (1394257) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864201)

- Because your changes will probably change your future search results accordingly, and you sometimes search for the same thing for multiple times. Many people does not use bookmarks for sites they search
- Wikipedia is only on top or in first page if they have an article about the query, do you think there are only a few million unique common queries people makes?

Re:What is the point? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864449)

Because even with a single site, it's useful -- I could promote Wikipedia, and demote expert-exchange, for example.

And even if it's not shared, Google could still use this to tailor my own search results -- give me more things like Wikipedia, and less things like experts-exchange.

Re:What is the point? (4, Interesting)

Viceroy Potatohead (954845) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864931)

I guess for 95% of all common searchterms, there is an informative Wiki-article

My initial thought to that was:

"Maybe common for everyone else, but I must make a lot more uncommon searches. I mean, Wikipedia doesn't have a 'disney ass sluts' category, while Google returned 119 results."

But then I realized it does have an article on Britney Spears, so you may have a point.

Re:What is the point? (1)

ksd1337 (1029386) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865073)

Because Googlebombers.

Re:What is the point? (0, Offtopic)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#25866513)

The outrage! Pretending to be able to edit Slashdot comments [slashdot.org] was invented by Shampoo^H^H^H^H^H^H me!

Wikia (4, Interesting)

saibot834 (1061528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25863943)

They adopted (or will be adopting) a core principle of Wikia Search, and that is user generated content (and ranking search results is some kind of content). On Wikia, everyone can change search results, insert new links and delete them.
However, user generated content needs a community (in this case mainly to prevent or revert spamming) - and google had many unsuccessful community projects in the past... I wonder if they are foolish enough to try it again.
When it comes to community projects many people object to the idea of working for free towards another one's gain. That's why nonprofits like the Free Software Foundation (GNU project) and the Wikimedia Foundation (Wikipedia) are so successful at building high quality producing communities. I don't think that google has a chance here.

Re:Wikia (2, Informative)

saibot834 (1061528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864231)

Uh... seems I forgot to include the actual link: Wikia Search [wikia.com] (alternatively you can google for "Wikia Search" :P)
Note how you can instantly and anonymously change almost everything. (needs Javascript however)

Re:Wikia (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864245)

and google had many unsuccessful community projects in the past...

Such as? Google Code [google.com] ? Google Groups [google.com] ? Blogger [blogger.com] ?

How are these community projects 'unsuccessful'? Or are you talking about something else?

Re:Wikia (3, Informative)

Mike1024 (184871) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864323)

They adopted (or will be adopting) a core principle of Wikia Search, and that is user generated content [...] However, user generated content needs a community (in this case mainly to prevent or revert spamming) - and google had many unsuccessful community projects in the past... I wonder if they are foolish enough to try it again.

Well, a community is one way to prevent spamming, but is it the only way?

I mean, Wikipedia goes for a very transparent structure. If Wikipedia added secret algorithms to selectively display only certain users' contributions, they would probably be criticised by people on Slashdot, and elements of the Wikipedia community.

On the other hand, Google already uses secret automated moderation techniques for search results, and they are also pretty good at filtering spam in gmail. Both with no need for a community of volunteers doing filtering manually.

Furthermore, Google has not committed to using this user-generated data at all, let alone in an unmoderated form.

Now, I agree with you that Google hasn't got a track record of building user communities like Wikipedia. However, I think they could make user-moderated search work without one.

I had it yesterday but today it's gone (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25863945)

Is there anyway to turn it on?

Re:I had it yesterday but today it's gone (2, Funny)

stupidflanders (1230894) | more than 5 years ago | (#25863973)

You really shouldn't talk about your spouse that way.

Re:I had it yesterday but today it's gone (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864253)

Your probably not logged in.

Re:I had it yesterday but today it's gone (0, Redundant)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864729)

I am. And it's spelled "you're".

Re:I had it yesterday but today it's gone (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25866083)

Google hates the French. And spelling nazis. No more search wiki for you.

How to turn the dang thing off: (3, Informative)

6350' (936630) | more than 5 years ago | (#25863987)

I found a post on this blog [saadkamal.com] that notes a greasemonkey script to hide the searchwikified results, as well as a link to a google groups thread that shows a url tweak that will skip the feature in your searches (and can be used to make your iGoogle homepage searchwiki free).

Re:How to turn the dang thing off: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25864071)

or you could just sign out.

Ripped off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25864051)

Wikia Search was already doing this. Now, I guess Google has decided to, too.

I know Google's coverage is excellent... (5, Funny)

6Yankee (597075) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864083)

...but who tagged this "itsatarp"?

Re: Tarp! (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864289)

We ain't playin' wit'cha...

We gon' cover up the left, we gon' cover up the right.
We gon' cover up the left, we gon' cover up the right.
It's a tarp, it's a tarp, floor cover - floor cover.
It's a tarp, it's a tarp, floor cover - floor cover.

In parody of this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kJMH916DS4 [youtube.com]

Re:I know Google's coverage is excellent... (1)

lokpest (1136949) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865489)

...but who tagged this "itsatarp"?

Did you mean "itsatrap"

Um, huh? (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864181)

The internets have been full of this topic in the past few days, but I don't see anything different on Google. I've been logged in all this time, *and* I opted for the experimental "Searchwiki with Sounds" stuff.

Doesn't seem to be on the official services list either, and http://google.com/searchwiki [google.com] doesn't work at all. Where is it?

Re:Um, huh? (1)

AlpinePascia (1394887) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864283)

Are you logged in in English, anyway? International departments may not be as fast.

Re:Um, huh? (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864471)

I sure am. I had to clear a few cookies to avoid getting redirected to the ccTLD domain, but I was seeing English on all domains.

I'm on google.com now, but nothing seems to be there either (although at least I get personalized search and suggestions again, which didn't work for a while).

ExpertsExchange (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25864195)

Be gone!

Yes it is (1)

Godwin O'Hitler (205945) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864205)

"Is this a cunning way to encourage people to sign in while they search, thus providing Google with a richer set of data that can be mapped to specific user accounts?"

Yep. You got a problem with that?

Re:Yes it is (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25864427)

...and in case the original poster didn't know: Google already tracks you through your IP address, cookies and browser details. And they already track which search results you click on. The only new thing this features provides is the ability to finetune the search results, there are no privacy implications that weren't there already.

Autistic Filtering? (1)

haggais (624063) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864275)

Sounds a little like Collaborative Filtering [wikipedia.org] , where other users' ranking of items helps decide what items are suggested to you. Except for the "collaborative" part, of course. Unless I'm stuck in a Memento-like cycle of short-term amnesia, why on earth would I need Google to remind me that I'd rather they showed me item X before item Y? I've already run that particular search, and seen those items... If my rankings got to help someone else at some point, that might be worth the effort.

So, really, this new "Autistic Filtering" framework takes a bold step away from the Social Net fad, instead preferring the Anti-Social Net paradigm. As John Dickinson and countless others did not say, "Divided we stand, united we fall".

It works for *me* (0, Redundant)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864341)

OK, maybe I'm a strange kind of person (probably, since I'm an aspie), but I really like this feature. I DO repeat the same searches, occasionally. Actually, relatively often. I'm too lazy to bookmark all the stuff I find, and I have a hard time searching through my bookmark tree for a specific thing. You know that a lot of your links can be put under different categories - and by the way, wouldn't it be great if bookmarks were slightly smarter, so you can create a kind of mindmap of bookmarks? Though I would probably be too lazy to organize them into a mindmap.

So, this feature does a lot of good for my style of browsing. Find the most interesting search results, promote them, remove the obvious sh*t and spam, and off I go. Then, when I do the same search again, a month or a week later... bliss! I have the most relevant-to-me hits at the very top, and no crud.

Thank you, Google.

For you who don't like this feature; what's so hard about just ignoring it? You don't like it, then don't use it. Can't be simpler, really.

Re:It works for *me* (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864649)

Bookmarks are getting smarter. Firefox 3 adds support for tagging bookmarks, but not much in the way of uses for those tags. I think the tags get transferred to delicious if you use the delicious plug-in (I don't, so I'm not sure). If that is the case, there are many third party sites that will suck in data from delicious and spit out mind maps.

And really, I would be surprised if further tag features are not added to Firefox.

Or extensions. TagSifter looks neat:

http://cs.stanford.edu/people/adw/tagsifter/ [stanford.edu]

Re:It works for *me* (1)

wikinerd (809585) | more than 5 years ago | (#25867229)

For you who don't like this feature; what's so hard about just ignoring it? You don't like it, then don't use it. Can't be simpler, really.

It's about network effects, or maybe about reverse network effects.

If a group of people start using a technology and they become the majority, it will be difficult to live without also becoming part of their network.

Think of the telephone. Many people prefer email over the telephone, but they still have to have a phone because of reverse network effects: as the network of telephone users is very powerful thanks to the popularity of phones, the network of telephone non-users is stagnant because its members are so few that they cannot achieve powerful network effects. In essence, when the majority settles on a technology everyone else is at a disadvantage.

Let's say you don't want to be in social networking sites. But if everyone else joins in, you will have to be there as well in the end.

It's similar to software ecosystems. If everyone uses Windows, you must deal with Windows sometimes if you want to be part of society, even if you run Debian GNU/Linux or OpenBSD at home/office.

It's surely not in your best interests to see the majority adopting a technology or anything else that you don't like or feel you can't live with it.

So, if you see a technology which you don't like becoming popular, you feel you have to explain its disadvantages to the people around you, so that you can protect yourself in the case you are forced to use this technology just to order a pizza (telephone, not email), report your taxes ("works only in IE6"), or have the slightest interaction with the wider society.

I don't necessarily say that this is the right thing. I just provide a possible explanation of the motivation that makes some people to try to persuade others not to adopt a technology etc.

Finally, a Way to Formalize French-Bashing (0, Troll)

fnordtastic (1408051) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864403)

Search for French Military Victories and French Victories and use the new feature to make the first result www.albinoblacksheep.com/text/victories.html , which has a mock google page yielding 0 results and prompting to search for "French military defeats." Maybe if enough of us add this to the top of our search results via this new feature, google will actually implement it.

Works for me... (1)

Vryl (31994) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864507)

Personal hate - "experts exchange" - it fails me to understand why these are included in the search results - they are fucking ads.

Re:Works for me... (1)

Godwin O'Hitler (205945) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864629)

Personal hate: price comparison sites. If I'm interested in buying something I want the names of sellers, not spiders.

Re:Works for me... (1)

sabernet (751826) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864939)

Agreed. First thing I did when I read up on this yesterday was search for "experts" and killed it.

Privacy issues aside, there may be real value here (5, Informative)

hedronist (233240) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865115)

Three words: User Relevance Feedback.

In 1986 I started work on the first commercial search engine that supported "similarity searching." This was based on the Cosine Coefficient of weighted attribute vectors. As we got deeper and deeper into what made one search successful and another a flop, it became obvious that there were two prime enemies of successful searching.

  1. Very short queries.
  2. Words with multiple, unrelated meanings. E.g., "bank" has more than a dozen meanings as both a noun and a verb.

For example, a query of "man versus machine" (actually run by Esther Dyson in our offices), produced an apparently random mix of articles about chess-playing computers, labor strikes over factory automation, and some guy towing a locomotive with his teeth (it's been over 20 years, so I don't remember the exact results). She hesitated for a moment, then said, "Oh! They really are all about people and machines, but how do I narrow it down to what I meant, which was more along the lines of the labor articles?"

We already had an answer to this by the time she visited us. Our solution (based on the work of Salton and Buckley) was to allow the user to say, "Results 1 and 3 are irrelevant, but result 2 is highly relevant." We would then take the attribute vectors for the articles and raise or lower the importance of those terms in the new query vector. After the first round of relevance feedback, the results often got downright spooky. Why? Because a) we now had a lot more terms to work with, and b) the additional terms helped to disambiguate terms like "bank." E.g., mention of levee construction probably meant this was a "river bank" and not a financial institution.

What does this have to do with what Google is doing? By reordering your results you are, in effect, giving user relevance feedback. I don't know what they are going to do with this information, but just getting your hands on it is a very important first step. And having you bring things to the top is doubly important, because positive relevance feedback is several times more important than negative. E.g. Tell me to drive towards San Francisco, rather than just saying I should leave Chicago.

On the downside, as mentioned by several previous posters, this opens the door to deep understanding of the user and what s/he is interest in. (Of course, they already get some of this when you click on items in a result list. They have a little JavaScript goody that records each and every click. Fortunately, there are GreaseMonkey scripts to disable this "feature.") One of my (few) customers back in the 80's and 90's said, "If you know only the questions I ask, you know too much." The customer? The NSA.

The trouble with "search personalization" (2, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865491)

I tend to think of individual search personalization as a pain. It's another piece of state the user has to manage. But it's harmless, and some people might like it.

The trouble with sharing information about search results is that the most interested parties are, inevitably, going to be in the "search engine optimization" business. Unless Google figures out some way to prevent people from establishing huge numbers of accounts, something they've dramatically failed to do with GMail, any shared information from users will be gamed and spammed.

Does anybody use Wikia search? Unfortunately, because it's folded into Wikia.com, (the fan site wiki hosting service), Alexa doesn't produce useful stats. Wikia in total has about 10% of the traffic of "ask.com", and under 1% of Google.com. Wikia's trend is downward.

Delete My Google Account (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#25865919)

I'd be a lot less worried about Google keeping my search history as my online identity, if I could just make Google delete my history records by requesting it. I can clear my browser cache at will, but my server-stored Google records are totally out of reach.

Google can keep the aggregate statistics. But I should be able to click and delete their raw records of me. And that procedure should be periodically randomly audited, with severe penalties for contract violation if they don't actually delete my records. If that doesn't work, we need criminal penalties.

Not just Google, either. Any retained records except those protected by some other regulation (like legal, financial or perhaps health records) should be deletable on demand by the subject of the data. Getting Google to "not be evil" in this essential practice would make it a lot easier to get the rest not to be evil, too.

Such a bad thing? (5, Insightful)

strawberryutopia (1301435) | more than 5 years ago | (#25866471)

"Is this a cunning way to encourage people to sign in while they search, thus providing Google with a richer set of data that can be mapped to specific user accounts?"

Of course it is. But as a Google fangirl with no sense of privacy, I have to say, is this really a bad thing? Greater knowledge about their users will lead to more accurately targeted adverts. Is it such a bad thing that Google are increasing their potential earnings?

Google get more money, advertisers get more potential customers, and publishers get more money from adverts, and the customers get pointed to more sites they're likely to be interested in. Who loses?

Good! but it doesnt go far enough! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25867037)

I want to be able to permenantly BAN a site and any pages on that site from EVER showing up again.

I dont care if its shared. I dont care if they study the data. some sites are 100% useless. and always show up for alot of related search terms.

be nice never to see that crap again.

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